NFL Nation: Sidney Rice

In what has to be the most unusual situation this year as far as a player signing goes for the Seattle Seahawks, wide receiver Sidney Rice visited the New York Jets on Wednesday, but later signed a one-year deal to return to Seattle.

Terms haven’t been announced, but the Seahawks obviously wanted Rice back bad enough to outbid the Jets.

Rice sent out this tweet Wednesday night:

 

It appeared the Seahawks' chances of re-signing Rice were in jeopardy when he visited the Jets. But apparently Rice already had an offer from Seattle and simply was testing the waters.

Rice had a connection in the Jets organization with general manager John Idzik, who spent six years in Seattle as the vice president of football operations before taking the GM job with the Jets in January 2013.

But Seattle was able to work out a deal for Rice to return for 2014. He was released by the Seahawks on Feb. 28 for salary-cap reasons; he would have counted $7.3 million against the cap.

Rice missed the second half of the 2013 season after tearing an ACL in a game at St. Louis, but was given clearance by his doctor to begin running and cutting drills on Monday.

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll has said all along they were interested in bringing Rice back if the price was right. By re-signing the 6-foot-4 Rice, it could mean the Seahawks go in another direction with their early picks in the NFL draft next month -- possibly selecting an offensive lineman or defensive end.

Seattle brought in Indiana receiver Cody Latimer on Tuesday. Latimer has zoomed up the draft boards in the recent weeks and is seen as a late first-round or early second-round pick.

Rice, 27, caught 15 passes and scored three touchdowns before his injury last season. He caught 50 passes for 748 yards and seven touchdowns in 2012.
If the Seahawks hope to re-sign wide receiver Sidney Rice, they may have to outbid the New York Jets for him. Rice visited with the Jets on Tuesday, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported.

Rice has a connection in the Jets organization with general manager John Idzik, who spent six years in Seattle as the vice president of football operations before taking the GM job with the Jets in January of 2013.

Rice was released by the Seahawks on Feb. 28 for salary-cap reasons. He would have counted $7.3 million against the cap. He missed the second half of the 2013 season after tearing an ACL in a game at St. Louis, but was given clearance by his doctor to begin running and cutting drills on Monday.

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll has said they were interested in bringing Rice back, but the price may become too high if the Jets have a serious interest in him.

Rice, 27, caught 15 passes and scored three touchdowns before his injury last season. He caught 50 passes for 748 yard and seven touchdowns in 2012.

Source: Sidney Rice visits Jets

April, 16, 2014
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Injury-plagued wide receiver Sidney Rice, cut by the Seattle Seahawks after the season, visited with the New York Jets on Wednesday, a league source confirmed.

The Jets already have signed two receivers, Eric Decker and Jacoby Ford, but they still want to build depth. Rice, 27, was once regarded as a rising star, but he has missed 15 of the past 48 games due to knee injuries and concussions. In fact, he tore an ACL last October, causing him to miss the remainder of the season. He reportedly was cleared only recently to return to football activities.

The 6-foot-4 Rice would be an inexpensive acquisition for the Jets, probably a one-year contract for close to the minimum salary. General manager John Idzik is a former Seahawks executive and was partly responsible for signing Rice to a five-year, $41 million contract in 2011. Rice parlayed his one big year (1,312 receiving yards for the Minnesota Vikings in 2010) into the big score.

Rice has 243 catches for 3,592 yards and 30 touchdowns.
Many of you have asked if the Carolina Panthers have interest in free agent wide receiver Sidney Rice now that he's been medically cleared to begin football drills.

One of you emailed to say Rice, cut by the Seattle Seahawks in February to save $7.3 million under the salary cap, was at an expensive Charlotte hotel on Saturday night.

Rice
Here is what I know. According to a source, Rice was not in town for an official visit with the Panthers. As of Tuesday morning, no official visit was scheduled.

That doesn't mean it couldn't happen at some point, although I would consider him signing here a long shot.

On Monday, Rice announced on Twitter that he had been cleared medically five months and one week after having surgery to repair a torn ACL.

According to reports, the Panthers, New York Giants, New Orleans Saints and Seahawks are interested.

Carolina is a natural landing place because Rice grew up an hour from Charlotte in Gaffney, S.C., and played at the University of South Carolina, 90 minutes from Carolina's Bank of America Stadium. The Panthers also are rebuilding their receiving corps.

But financially, Carolina has the least money to spend among the four teams interested. According to ESPN Stats and Information, the Panthers have $2,747,629 left under the salary cap. Seattle has the most room at $15,816,262, followed by the Giants ($4,079,849) and Saints ($3,732,116).

The Panthers already have signed three free agent receivers in Jerricho Cotchery, Jason Avant and Tiquan Underwood who account for $3,675,000 in cap space. They also added tight end Ed Dickson, who will count $635,000 under the 2014 cap.

Rice, despite the injuries, still likely would demand more than any of those, with Cotchery ($1.7 million) counting the most against the cap.

Rice was a Pro Bowl receiver at Minnesota in 2009 when he had a career-best 83 catches for 1,312 yards and eight touchdowns. Since then he's been plagued by injuries that have limited him to 32 or fewer receptions in three of the past four seasons.

He has played only one full season since '09, catching 50 passes for 748 yards and seven touchdowns for Seattle in 2012.

But when healthy, he can be a weapon.

The Seahawks still seem the most likely landing spot for the seven-year veteran, because they have a need at receiver after free-agent losses and the most money to spend.

Carolina still seems like a long shot.
MINNEAPOLIS -- Somehow, we're still six weeks away from the NFL draft, which kicks off on May 8 in New York, but while the Minnesota Vikings are still busy making preparations for general manager Rick Spielman's eighth draft in Minnesota, we thought it would be a good time to look back at how the Vikings fared in his first seven.

So this morning, we're kicking off a day-by-day review of the Vikings' 2007-13 drafts. We'll review how each one turned out for the Vikings, look back at a pivotal pick, and attempt to take a rough measurement of how the team stacked up against the rest of the league, with the help of Pro Football Reference's Approximate Value statistic. The metric gives a general idea of how productive a player has been, based on his years as a regular starter, Pro Bowl selections and statistics. In this case, we'll be using the Draft AV, which measures what a player did for the team that originally drafted him. It's far from a perfect assessment of the situation, but it will give us some sense of how the Vikings have done.

Without further ado, we'll begin our series with a look at the 2007 draft:

Vikings' first-round pick: No. 7 (Adrian Peterson, RB, Oklahoma)

Number of picks: 8

Total Draft AV: 131 (5th in NFL; San Francisco was best with a 232 AV)

Highest player AV: Peterson, 77 (2nd; San Francisco's Patrick Willis was best with an 89 AV)

Peterson
Peterson
How they did: The Vikings' first draft under Spielman will be forever defined by their first pick; Peterson will go down as the greatest running back in franchise history, and one of the best of all time. The fact that Chester Taylor had run for more than 1,200 yards the year before made the Peterson pick seem a bit superfluous at the time, but when injury concerns kept the former Heisman Trophy runner-up on the board until the Vikings picked, they knew they had a rare opportunity. It was an early victory for Spielman's best-player-available strategy, and Peterson remains the team's franchise player as he heads into his eighth season.

Rice
Pivotal pick: When they were on the clock in the second round with the 44th overall pick, the Vikings had the option to take either South Carolina receiver Sidney Rice or USC receiver Dwayne Jarrett, who had had the more decorated college career but had also played in an offense designed to produce big numbers, and had raised concern by skipping the 40-yard dash at the scouting combine. Jarrett eventually ran a 4.62 at USC's pro day, and after being projected as a first-round pick, he was still there for the Vikings in the second round. They instead took Rice, who has been injury-prone, but had a Pro Bowl 2009 season with Brett Favre. Jarrett played 32 NFL games, caught 35 passes and has been out of the league since 2010.

Robison
Best pick: Peterson is the obvious choice, but for sheer value, we have to go with fourth-rounder Brian Robison, who became a starter in 2011 after four seasons as a rotational player and earned a four-year contract extension in the middle of last season. Robison had the best season of his career in 2013, and has seen his sack totals increase each year he's been a starter.

Worst pick: In need of a cornerback after allowing the second-most passing yards in the league the previous season, the Vikings used their third-rounder on Fresno State's Marcus McCauley, who was gone after two seasons and out of the league after three. McCauley stepped in for an injured Antoine Winfield late in his rookie year, and got burned in a pivotal Sunday night game against the Washington Redskins in December. He is currently playing in the United Football League.
The New Orleans Saints have shown some interest in free-agent receiver Sidney Rice, according to a league source. It’s unknown if a visit has been scheduled.

Rice
The Saints are much thinner than usual at the receiver position after releasing veteran Lance Moore last week. They still have returning starters Marques Colston and Kenny Stills. But Nick Toon is the only receiver on the roster with any NFL experience. The Saints could also consider bringing back veteran Robert Meachem and Joe Morgan, who are still unsigned as free agents.

Presumably, the Saints would like to add at least one veteran into the mix, as well as a possible draft choice. Perennial training camp favorite Andy Tanner could also compete for a greater role.

Rice, 27, was a dynamic receiver early in his career with the Minnesota Vikings, with a Pro Bowl season in 2009 (1,312 yards, eight touchdowns). But he has battled a series of injuries during the past four years with both the Seattle Seahawks (2011-2013) and Vikings (2007-2010).

The 6-foot-4, 202-pounder suffered a torn ACL midway through last season and finished with just 15 catches for 231 yards and three touchdowns in eight games played. In 2012, Rice had 50 catches for 748 yards and seven touchdowns in a full season with the Seahawks.
Let’s look deeper into the San Francisco 49ers’ interest in free-agent receivers Julian Edelman of New England and Hakeem Nicks of the New York Giants.

Odds of landing them: There is competition. The Patriots want Edelman back and Cleveland has been connected to him as well. Nicks is visiting Indianapolis on Friday. Carolina is also interested. The 49ers don’t have a ton of salary-cap room, so they have to get creative in a deal with either player.

Nicks
Edelman
Who else is out there if Edelman and Nicks don’t end up with 49ers: The top available receivers include Steve Smith, James Jones, Santonio Holmes, Sidney Rice, Emmanuel Sanders and Jerome Simpson.

Who is the best fit? Probably Nicks because he is an outside receiver. Landing him on a short-term deal to see if he can become a top-notch player again could be smart. Don’t get me wrong; Edelman is good as well. You don’t catch 105 balls in a season if you’re not talented. But Anquan Boldin is essentially a slot guy as well. Still, I’m sure the 49ers could find ways to make it work.

How Crabtree, Boldin and the draft figure: Crabtree is a free agent next year and Boldin is 33. So, even if the 49ers sign Edelman or Nicks, I can still see them taking a receiver early in the draft.

Kaepernick factor: I’m sure quarterback Colin Kaepernick is paying attention. This passing offense could be nasty with Boldin, Crabtree, tight end Vernon Davis and Nicks or Edelman. It would open it up. It could also behoove Kaepernick to wait to get his contract done until next year. He could put up big numbers with another top weapon.

Should Seattle worry? Yes. The 49ers must get better on offense to beat Seattle. That was the reason why the 49ers couldn’t overtake Seattle in 2013. A big-time offensive weapon could even the playing field.

Scout's thoughts: “I was a little surprised to be honest, especially after the re-signing of Boldin. Quinton Patton also shows some promise, but this would be a heck of a receiver corps if is Patton is your No. 4. I would think if they were in the market for WR though, that they would be looking for a pure speed guy, which isn't Nicks or Edelman.” -- ESPN analyst Matt Williamson
The Houston Texans don't have much salary cap room and aren't expected to be very active in free agency, but a move the team should at least consider is adding recently-released receiver Sidney Rice. It won't cost much and it would be a steal if Rice manages to put his recent rash of injuries behind him.

[+] EnlargeSidney Rice
Matt Kartozian/USA TODAY SportsSidney Rice, when healthy, is a dangerous wide receiver. The Texans might be a good fit for Rice in 2014.
The Texans took Clemson's DeAndre Hopkins with the 27th pick of the first round last season. It turned out to be one of the best in the last half of the draft's first round. Despite the Texans' jumbled mess at quarterback, Hopkins caught 52 passes for 802 yards, numbers that ranked second among all rookie receivers last season.

Hopkins should only be better in 2014, and with the seemingly ageless Johnson continuing to produce -- 109 catches for 1,407 yards -- the Texans should have a pretty good one-two punch on the outside in 2014.

Adding Rice would make them even better, and it shouldn't be a move that will hurt the Texans financially. They are estimated to only have about $11 million in cap room, which certainly isn't much, but Rice won't command a big contract because teams are leery of his injury history. He has missed 15 games in the three seasons in which played in Seattle, including the final eight of the 2013 season because of a knee injury.

When healthy, the 6-foot-4, 202-pound Rice can be one of the league's most productive receivers. He caught 83 passes for 1,312 yards and eight touchdowns in 2009 but has played in more than nine games in a season just once since then. That was 2012, when he caught 50 passes for 748 yards. His size makes him a factor in the red zone, and pairing him with the 6-3, 230-pound Johnson would make the Texans a dangerous team near the goal line.

Despite being in the league for seven years already, Rice is only 27 years old. That's young enough to have four or five more productive seasons, provided he can stay healthy. Since that has been an issue, he's going to be able to be had for a minimum contract with playing-time incentives. It's a low-risk move for the Texans, or any team that signs Rice.

The Texans are expected to draft a quarterback with the No. 1 overall pick and they best way to ensure that a young quarterback thrives is by surrounding him with weapons. Adding Rice to a group that includes Hopkins, the team's star of the future, and Johnson, who continues to produce even though he's turning 34 in July, would be the biggest help the Texans could give the new quarterback.

Rice's release could help keep Tate

February, 21, 2014
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The inevitable release of wide receiver Sidney Rice, which ESPN Insider Adam Schefter is reporting will happen soon, is the move the Seattle Seahawks had to make to have any chance of keeping free agent receiver Golden Tate.

Tate
Tate
Rice
Rice’s release will save $7.3 million in salary-cap money for Seattle. It’s money the team will need to try to re-sign Tate, who made $880,000 in 2013 and likely will get offers in excess of $5 million per year in free agency.

Seahawks general manager John Schneider said Thursday that re-signing Tate was a big priority: “Golden knows where we stand, how much we love him and how much we want him on this team.”

Releasing Rice also will help the Seahawks re-sign receiver Doug Baldwin, a restricted free agent who made only $560,000 in 2013.

If Tate signs with another team, the Seahawks could use some of the money saved on Rice to try to keep defensive linemen Michael Bennett, a free agent who made $4.8 million in 2013.

Rice was due $17.5 million in base salary over the next two seasons. He missed the final eight regular-season games last season, and the playoffs, after suffering a torn ACL against St. Louis on Oct. 28.

But Rice never has been the player the Seahawks hoped he would be when they signed him to a five-year, $41 million deal in 2011. At 6-foot-4, Rice was the one big target among the Seattle receiving corps, so it’s likely the team will look for a big wide receiver early in the 2014 draft.

Rice’s upcoming release is only the first in what probably will be several difficult roster decisions by the Seahawks to add cap space. Defensive end Chris Clemons, who is scheduled to make $9.6 million in 2014, also could be a luxury the team can’t afford to keep.

The next big thing: Seahawks

January, 23, 2014
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RENTON, Wash. -- Obviously, the next big thing for the Seahawks is the Super Bowl against the Denver Broncos. Nothing else matters at the moment.

However, when the big game is over, the Seahawks have difficult contract decisions to make because they know a day of reckoning is coming when they will need to pay some star players big bucks in the near future.

It won't be this year, but soon for cornerback Richard Sherman and quarterback Russell Wilson. Sherman has one year left on a deal that counts only $690,000 against the salary cap next season. He will soon command a salary of well over $10 million a year.

Wilson will make only $662,000, next season, but after that, some big-time renegotiating is going to happen. And the day will come when the Seahawks will have to pay Wilson at least $20 million more per year than he's making now.

All-Pro free safety Earl Thomas also has only a year left on a deal that pays him $3.7 million in 2014.

So some maneuvering will be in order soon, and some players currently on the roster will have to move on because of salary-cap limits.

The immediate concerns are wide receiver. Golden Tate is a free agent who made only $880,000 this season. Doug Baldwin is a restricted free agent with a salary that counts only $560,000 against the cap. Can Seattle keep both of them and pay Percy Harvin's six-year, $67 million deal?

Maybe, but certainly not if receiver Sidney Rice stays. He has two years left on five-year, $41 million contract. It's unlikely he will return.

No doubt the Seahawks wish they had signed defensive lineman Michael Bennett to more than a one-year deal at $4.8 million. He won't be easy to keep after the sensational year he's had.

Seattle also must make a decision on starting right tackle Breno Giacomini, a free agent who counted $4.7 million against the cap this season.
Age: 43

Position: Seattle Seahawks offensive coordinator

[+] EnlargeDarrell Bevell
Bob Donnan/USA TODAY SportsDarrell Bevell has been an assistant in smaller markets during his entire NFL coaching career.
Recent background: Bevell has served as the Seahawks’ offensive coordinator the past three seasons. His offense ranked 23rd in points per game in 2011 (28th in yards). But in the past two years they’re ninth and eighth, respectively, in points per game (and 17th both years in total yards).

Past stops: Bevell started his NFL coaching career as a Green Bay offensive assistant in 2000. Three years later he became their quarterbacks coach and three years after that Bevell was named Minnesota’s offensive coordinator. Quarterback Brett Favre posted a career-best 107.2 passer rating under Bevell in 2009, when the offense finished No. 2 in points per game (In his five years with Minnesota, they were 26th, 15th, 12th, second and 29th in points per game). Bevell was not retained when interim coach Leslie Frazier became the head coach for the 2011 season. He started four seasons at quarterback for the University of Wisconsin.

What I’ve heard about him: Seattle coach Pete Carroll expects Bevell to be a head coach in 2014. While the Seahawks’ offense has been inconsistent, what’s impressed many is that they’ve still been productive despite playing most of the season minus receivers Sidney Rice and Percy Harvin and half the season without tackles Russell Okung and Breno Giacomini. Bevell is considered matter-of-fact and not flashy, but open and honest. One ex-NFL general manager said he likes Bevell and thinks he’s a good coach, but said his personality is not that of a head coach.

Potential fit: Bevell has done excellent work in Seattle. They’re still playing with a young quarterback who was a third-round pick and they haven’t played much with their true starting lineup. Yes, Russell Wilson would have gone in the (late) first round had he been a couple inches taller. Still, he’s a young quarterback and Bevell and the Seahawks have done a good job winning with him (yes, with a great defense). It was Bevell who wanted Wilson to start right away over Matt Flynn, so he has some conviction and doesn’t appear afraid to make what was considered a gutsy move after they traded for Flynn. It's not like every team was raving about Wilson before the draft, either. I like that Bevell is younger. But I’d very much worry about his low-key personality in this organization. That’s not the sort owner Dan Snyder wants or needs; I think it would make it harder for Bevell to thrive in Washington. Also, several coaches from the past have talked about working in a big market; Bevell has been in Green Bay, Minnesota and Seattle. I'd worry about him being overwhelmed by the demands of the job in Washington, from maneuvering inside the organization -- knowing how to handle the owner is only part of it -- to dealing with outside pressures.

Suggested reading: A little bit on his offensive philosophy. Really, the first graph is the one that’s applicable. … A little bit more on his philosophy regarding audibles, from his Minnesota days. … A year ago, Bevell said, “We’re a running team.”… Too much verbiage? ... Vikings' loss was Seahawks' gain. ... An interesting look on his time in Minnesota.

Expect some rust on Harvin's debut

November, 13, 2013
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RENTON, Wash. -- Don't expect too much too soon.

That's my message to all the Seattle fans about the debut of receiver Percy Harvin, which could come Sunday against his former team, the Minnesota Vikings.

Harvin
If Harvin does play, it will be the first time he's taken the field in an NFL game in more than a year. No matter how good a player is or how talented, a year away from actual game action is bound to leave him a little rusty.

Coincidentally, the last game Harvin played was in Seattle on Nov. 4, 2012, when Seattle beat the Vikings 30-20 on the day Harvin injured his ankle.

It will be interesting to see how much Harvin is used, and how he's used, if he plays Sunday. It's likely to be a limited role at first, just an opportunity for Harvin to get his feet wet, so to speak, and see some action before the big Monday night against the New Orleans Saints on Dec. 2.

The Seahawks have their bye week after the Vikings game, so Harvin will have two more weeks to get in playing shape before the next game.

And the Seattle receiving corps is coming off its best game of the season in the 33-10 victory at Atlanta. Golden Tate and Jermaine Kearse each had a TD catch. Doug Baldwin had five receptions, Tate had six (including a 46-yard catch-and-run on a quick screen) and Kearse had three catches, including the 43-yard TD.

Throwing Harvin into the mix will take some maneuvering. At first glance, one would expect him to take some of Kearse's playing time, but it's complicated.

Harvin is mostly a slot receiver, although he can line up anywhere, including the backfield. Baldwin plays the slot most of the time for the Seahawks, but he has played more snaps outside since Sidney Rice went down with a knee injury two weeks ago.

The Seattle coaches probably will go with a rotation and try to let all four receivers get meaningful playing time as much as possible, at least until Harvin settles in after a few games.

At first, what Harvin will add more than anything else is his presence. Defenses have to account for his speed and will see him as a deep threat. That could open up things underneath for Tate and Baldwin.

But don't expect Harvin to step onto the field Sunday and be at a Pro Bowl level. Give it time. He'll get there.
Lavonte David and Russell Wilson  USA Today SportsThe key for Lavonte David and the Bucs is to try to pressure Russell Wilson and to attack a line that gave up seven sacks on Monday.
Despite getting outplayed in almost every statistical category Monday night at St. Louis, the Seattle Seahawks defeated the Rams 14-9 and reached the midpoint of the season at 7-1 after a rough stretch of four road games in five weeks.

Now Seattle returns to CenturyLink Field against the winless Tampa Bay Buccaneers, hoping to win at home for the 12th consecutive time. It looks like a mismatch, but so did the Rams game.

The Seahawks still have backups starting at both offensive tackle spots and now are missing receiver Sidney Rice, who tore an ACL on Monday night. Rice is in the last year of his contract with the team and probably has played his last game with Seattle.

Receiver Percy Harvin should return soon after undergoing hip surgery three months ago, but it probably won't be this weekend. Nevertheless, the Seahawks should win this game.

Blount: Pat, a lot of people thought the Bucs would have a new head coach by the time the team got to Seattle, but Greg Schiano is hanging on. If Tampa Bay comes here and loses by a big margin, is that the end for him?

Yasinskas: Terry, I've been pointing to the Seattle game for several weeks as a possible end for Schiano. I think he's still employed in large part because the Bucs are putting forth an effort. But I could see that changing on a long road trip against a good team and in a hostile environment. The interim route rarely works out well. But if this team lies down in Seattle, I can see ownership pulling the plug on Schiano.

Aside from the loss to Indianapolis, Seattle seems to have been nearly perfect. But there's no such thing as perfect in the NFL. What are the Seahawks' biggest weaknesses?

Blount: Without question, it's the offensive line. It's not just weak right now. It's awful. Obviously, missing Russell Okung and Breno Giacomini is a big part of it, but having to go with backups at the tackle spots is not the only issue. Neither starting guard has played well, and center Max Unger, who had an arm injury earlier this season, hasn't played up to his Pro Bowl level of last year. It will improve when Okung and Giacomini get back in a few weeks, which will enable the Seahawks to move Paul McQuistan back to one of the guard spots instead of being out of position at left tackle. But it has to improve dramatically if Seattle hopes to live up to the Super Bowl expectations.

Pat, speaking of the Seattle line, it's obvious right now that the way to stop the Seattle offense is to load the box and blitz like crazy against the backup tackles, along with the rest of the offensive line that hasn't played well. Russell Wilson didn't have time to breathe at St. Louis. Do you see this as Tampa Bay's strategy on Sunday?

Yasinskas: I think the Bucs will try a similar approach, but I'm not sure they'll have as much success as St. Louis did. The defensive line hasn't been generating much of a pass rush. Linebackers Lavonte David and Mason Foster have been effective as blitzers, and I think you'll see the Bucs use them as pass-rushers.

Terry, how much does losing Rice hurt the receiving corps?

Blount: When Harvin gets on the field, assuming he's healthy, the Seahawks won't miss Rice. In fact, they'll be much better with Harvin's speed and versatility. Rice never has lived up to expectations here. He hasn't played nearly as well this season as receivers Golden Tate and Doug Baldwin. But if Harvin still isn't ready to come back, it hurts Seattle's depth at the receiver spot and enables any defense to use more double coverage on Tate and/or Baldwin. But this also could be an opportunity for Jermaine Kearse to shine. He's been a big surprise this season in limited play.

Pat, obviously, the Bucs aren't going anywhere this season. They spent a ton of money to bring in some top players on defense like Darrelle Revis and Dashon Goldson. What do you see as the team's goal for the rest of the season, and what do the Bucs hope to accomplish going forward in 2013?

Yasinskas: It's been a hugely disappointing year for a team with eight players on the roster who have been to the Pro Bowl. This team's struggles aren't entirely due to a lack of talent. Schiano prides himself on being a disciplinarian, but this team has struggled with mental mistakes and penalties. The thinking is that playing smarter will translate into some wins. But those might be coming too late to save Schiano's job. There is a segment of the fan base that wouldn't mind seeing the Bucs go winless so that they get the first overall pick in the 2014 draft.

Terry, the Seahawks are third in the league in pass defense, and we've heard a lot about their secondary. Is rookie quarterback Mike Glennon walking into the ultimate ambush?

Blount: That's what everyone thought Monday night for Rams backup quarterback Kellen Clemens, but he played pretty well most of the game. Clemens made two overthrows that became interceptions but came within one goal-line play of upsetting the Seahawks at the end of the game. The Seahawks do a great job of mixing things up and disguising coverages, but they do take chances to come up with turnovers. If Glennon doesn't recognize things quickly, they will make him pay.

RENTON, Wash. -- The Seattle Seahawks activated wide receiver Ricardo Lockette from the practice squad Wednesday to replace the injured Sidney Rice, which probably is a good indication that Percy Harvin will not return Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Seattle coach Pete Carroll said Harvin did not practice Wednesday and remains day-to-day as to when he might be activated off the physically unable to perform list.

“He’s with the rehab guys,” Carroll said of Harvin. “We’ll see how that goes, then see what [Thursday] brings. With the workload he’s endured to get back in shape, there’s going to be some stuff and he’s been a little bit sore.”

[+] EnlargePercy Harvin and Sidney Rice
AP Photo/Ted S. WarrenThe Seahawks had hoped that after Sidney Rice (foreground) got hurt, Percy Harvin would be ready to return. But it appears they'll have to wait a bit.
Harvin had hip surgery on Aug. 1 to repair a torn labrum. He returned to practice last week on a limited basis.

“We want to make sure we don’t go too far too fast,” Carroll said. “We’re looking for the long haul in his recovery. We want to make sure we manage our way through that. We’re being very careful. He didn’t do a whole lot last week. He did very little. It seems like it’s best to keep him in that mode a little longer.”

So for now, Harvin’s return remains on hold and the Seahawks will have to make it work without him and without Rice, who suffered a torn ACL Monday night.

“It affects us,” Carroll said of Rice’s loss. “We trust the heck out of him and he’s a terrific football player. He really knows the system and he helps the people around him play well. I was sick for him. It was a very unusual situation. It was a violent play and he didn’t think he was hurt that badly. Nobody did until we took the MRI.

“It’s very unfortunate, but we need Jermaine [Kearse] to step up and we moved up Lockette. We’ll count on all our guys to take up the slack.”

Kearse is a second-year player and a local guy from Tacoma; he’s popular with fans because of his college years at the University of Washington. He has played well this season in limited action, with two touchdowns on only eight receptions.

“It’s unfortunate to lose Sidney,” Kearse said. “He’s a good teammate and a really good friend of mine. But I see this as a really good opportunity to showcase my talents and showcase what I can do out there. It’s up to me to make the most of it.”

Kearse gets to play against his friend and former UW teammate this weekend, Buccaneers starting middle linebacker Mason Foster. "He sent me a text and said he’s proud of what’s I’m doing," Kearse said. "But if he gets the chance to hit me, he’s going to hit me. I said, 'Vice versa.'"

Kearse said Mason isn’t looking to cover him one-on-one.

“Oh, he doesn’t want that,” Kearse said smiling. “But Mason’s cool. That’s my guy. We hung out a lot in college, and the competition this weekend will be a lot of fun.”

Kearse also has returned kickoffs this season (only eight returns because so many kicks these days are out of the end zone), but he admitted that the lack of playing time has been tough.

“For me, the hardest thing has been to stay mentally focused with the limited reps I would get,” Kearse said. “So getting more playing time will help me a lot. I’ll be able to get into a rhythm of the game. I just want to help the team win any way I can.”

Lockette has been back with the Seahawks for a week after being waived by Chicago. He spent last season with San Francisco, but was originally signed by the Seahawks in 2011 as an undrafted free agent.

“He got caught up in a numbers game with us before,” Carroll said of Lockette. “But he’s always been a high-potential guy. He has great speed and fantastic hands. His experience with the other two clubs seems to have broadened his awareness.”

Lockette said he feels comfortable with the offense, even though he has only been back a few days.

“I was actually surprised at how much of the playbook I retained,” Lockette said. “With Sid out, it’s not something one person can replace. It’s going to take all of us. I learned a lot when I was in San Francisco and Chicago. But I think everything happens for a reason and there’s a reason I’m here."
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Getting wide receiver Percy Harvin back on the field as soon as possible just became a lot more important for the Seattle Seahawks.

The team announced Tuesday that wide receiver Sidney Rice is out for the season after suffering a torn ACL in the Monday night game at St. Louis. Rice wasn’t having the best season among the Seattle receiving corps, but he still had 15 catches for 231 yards and three touchdowns.

His loss leaves the team without a quality starter, something Harvin can more than make up for if he’s ready to play. But that’s still an unknown.

Harvin, Seattle’s biggest offseason acquisition, coming over in a trade with Minnesota, had major hip surgery on Aug. 1 to repair a torn labrum. He returned to participate somewhat in practice last week, but was not activated off the physically unable to perform list for the St. Louis game.

Seattle coaches have wanted to be cautious with Harvin’s return. He’s a $67 million investment ($25 million guaranteed) with the new five-year contract the Seahawks gave him. They want to make sure Harvin is healthy for the stretch run and the playoffs, and didn’t feel an urgency to rush it with four receivers who were playing well -- Golden Tate, Doug Baldwin, Jermaine Kearse and Rice.

However, Rice’s injury may have changed their perspective, along with the fact that the offense struggled and had only 135 total yards in the 14-9 victory over the Rams.

Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson did a lot of individual drills with Harvin last week. He believes Harvin can fit in and contribute immediately.

"I feel very comfortable with him already," Wilson said. "We talk about game stuff all the time. He’s up here all the time just getting ready. So I think the biggest thing is just continuing to throw to him, continue to just do what it takes to have that chemistry."

Harvin can help the Seahawks in many different ways -- as a speed receiver, a kick returner and even a man who lines up in the backfield.

"He’s a great football player," Wilson said. "He’s one of the best in the National Football League and he will bring electricity to our offense when he is able to come and play. We’re excited about that opportunity. But the great thing is we have so many other guys that have stepped up this season. Just to be able to add Percy, whenever that opportunity comes around, we’re excited about that."

Wilson was asked what’s the most important thing Harvin can bring to the offense.

"Just the fear factor," Wilson said. "I think Percy brings so much speed, he can do so many great things, and he just loves the game of football. You’ve just got to love having guys out there that just love the game like he does."

But whether Harvin is ready to step in and immediately fill the void left by Rice is anyone’s guess. That may take a little more time. If so, the Seahawks will have to make do until Harvin is ready to go.

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